The Senate race in Colorado between incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is a statistical dead heat, a new poll showed Wednesday.
The Suffolk University survey for USA Today
gives Udall 42 percent support among likely voters to Gardner's 43 percent — well within the poll's 4.4 percentage-point margin of error but a surprising blow to Democratic hopes for an easy time protecting a Senate seat in the Democrat-leaning state.
The rest of the candidates on the ballot earn about 5 percent of the vote, and another 10 percent of respondents remain undecided, the survey showed.
The poll is the first since mid-July to show just how close Gardner is making the contest: six public polls have given Udall a lead ranging from 2 to 8 points, The Hill reports.
The results also highlight the tepid effect of Udall's tack to make women's issues the springboard for attacks on his GOP challenger: Udall only leads Gardner by 6 points among female voters, 47-41 percent.
Udall has charged that Gardner is anti-women for backing a measure to restrict access to birth control and effectively ban abortion, The Hill notes.
Among male voters, on the other hand, Udall trails by 10 points, with 35 percent, the survey shows.
Colorado's governor's race is similarly tight, the new poll found.
The survey showed 43 percent of respondents supporting Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper and 41 percent backing Republican and former Rep. Bob Beauprez, with 10 percent of likely voters undecided. Four other challengers were in single digits, the poll showed.
Meanwhile, the poll found President Barack Obama's polling numbers continue in negative territory, with 56 percent disapproving of his job performance and 42 percent approving.
"The president's favorability and job approval continue to struggle, mirroring what we are seeing in other states," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. "Obama's falling out of favor appears to be taking its toll on Democratic candidates."
On another hot-button topic, the poll showed voters, particularly women, are somewhat circumspect about the legalization of marijuana.
The poll showed that 50 percent say they don't agree with the decision to legalize recreational marijuana in that state — a decision made by voters in 2012 — while 46 percent continue to support the decision.
Nearly 49 percent do not approve of how the state is managing legalized pot, compared to 42 percent who approve.
"Although it's a close split overall, opposition comes mainly from women statewide who oppose it 56 percent to 41 percent and additional push-back from voters over 55 years of age," Paleologos said. "This is offset by younger voters between 18 and 45 who still support it by a 20-point margin."
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